SolarPower Europe Unveils Digital Agrivoltaics Map

Highlights :

by Yash Singh

SolarPower Europe Unveils Digital Agrivoltaics Map

Solar trade body SolarPower Europe has launched a digital map to showcase agrivoltaics projects in ten countries in Europe, including Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands. The map includes more than 200 projects across the continent, amassing a combined capacity of 2.8 gW. The map showcases various technologies used in agriPV projects, whether it be farm rooftop PV, ground-mounted solar, interrow PV projects or overhead PV projects. Lina Dubina, policy advisor on sustainability at SolarPower Europe, said that many agriPV projects featured on the map incorporate biodiversity initiatives aimed at preserving and enhancing ecosystems.

Agrisolar In Focus

Agrisolar In Focus. Courtesy: SolarPowerEurope


However, the Italian government recently banned solar PV installations on agricultural land recently, which serves to be quite a large roadblock for SolarPowerup Europe’s plans. Italy’s solar trade association Italia Solare has said that the decision would cost Italy €60 billion. Additionally, the government’s stated aim of around 50GW of solar PV deployed by 2030 would be achievable “without any significant damage to agriculture and the landscape,” and that around 50% of this target could be met with just 1% of currently unoccupied agricultural land.

While Europe looks to maximise agriPV potential, the story in India is rather different. States like Punjab and Haryana, while carrying massive agriPV potential also rely on high crop yields as their main sources of income. Technologies like agriPV risk losing favour in these markets due to their tendency to reduce crop yields. As such, important crops like wheat, rice and oilseeds have to be excluded, which drops the agriPV potential significantly. States such as Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have been extremely slow to take off with respective capacities of 500 MW, 424 MW, 600 MW, and 700 MW being sanctioned. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have failed to see installations while Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have installed just 11mW and 2mW respectively.

For India, A farmer or farmer producer organisation (FPO) with an ineluctable stake in an agriPV project is key to its financial viability. Compensation components will be required if there is crop yield reduction. At present, most states supply free/subsidised power to the agricultural sector. This leads to thousands of crores being doled out to distribution companies annually from the state treasury.

Regarding the way forward, sustainable business models with stakeholder benefits can be replicated to scale up agriPV in the future. Scientific research needs to be conducted to determine crop suitability based on geographical location. Tariffs based on reduction in crop yield due to agriPV need to be computed on a case-by-case basis. Implementation of these systems will allow for a successful agriPV road map for India.

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